Witness: Troy Teen Arrested for Carrying Rifle 'Was in His Legal Right'

Troy High senior Sean Michael Combs, 18, was arrested Friday in downtown Birmingham after he was found carrying a loaded M1 Garand rifle.

It was a warm Friday night in April, and senior Sean Michael Combs was  enthusiastic about the rifle he received a month earlier as a gift for his 18th birthday, so he decided to carry it with him when he headed to downtown Birmingham with a friend.

Combs' choice to carry the M1 Garand slung over his shoulder resulted in his an experience his close friend Lia Grabowski calls "terrifying."

Grabowski spoke up on Combs' behalf Monday, saying her friend "was in his legal right" when he was arrested.

Grabowski, 17, also a senior at Troy High, said she was with Combs at the time of his arrest Friday and witnessed Combs' exchange with police. 

“We were just walking down to Birmingham," Grabowski said. "We weren’t doing anything. There were groups of kids walking around.

"He’s a huge supporter of open carry and the right to bear arms, and he thought he could legally carry. He wasn’t going to use it on anyone. Obviously, he could have defended himself, but he wasn’t looking for a fight.”

Grabowski said she and Combs were approached by a few teenagers who asked if his rifle was real, though "nobody was afraid, and everyone was kind of curious."

Then, the pair was stopped by a police officer, who asked to see Combs' driver's license, Grabowski said. Combs declined, and moments later, two more officers arrived and arrested Combs as he reached to produce his identification, according to Grabowski.

"He was in his legal right," Grabowski said. "He refused to give him his ID, but not rudely."

Grabowski said she does not agree with the actions of the Birmingham Police officers, adding that the experience was "terrifying."

Combs is a four-year member of the , serving as one of its captains this past season. He was also on the track team for three years and ran indoor track for two years.

"I can kind of understand the fact that he’s an 18-year-old, and he doesn’t really look 18, but he was completely within his legal right and they did not have a right to arrest him. ... They had what they asked for, and they arrested him anyway."

"We understand long gun open carry to be lawful" in the state of Michigan, said Phillip Hofmeister, president of Michigan Open Carry, Inc., though he added that the group does not advocate open carry of long guns. Also, according to the group's website, "under no legal obligation are you required to talk to a police officer or produce identification of any kind if you are not being detained."

Combs declined to comment Monday without his attorney present. He is scheduled to be arraigned May 2 on charges of disturbing the peace, brandishing a weapon and obstructing an investigation.

Birmingham Police could not be reached for comment Monday evening.

GambitofTroy July 12, 2012 at 05:55 PM
Nice try -- LOL!
PavePusher July 13, 2012 at 04:47 AM
Rick, what good is an unloaded gun? As far as I can tell, he wasn't "showing off ...to friends". Quite the opposite, he was not acting oddly, he was within the law, and had no legal or moral obligation to carry any government issued ID, let alone give it to police who stopped him unConstitutionally. Your parent did NOT teach you "how to be a RESPONSIBLE gun owner", it appears that he taught you to be a flaming hypocrite and judgemental authoritarian. Good luck with that.
sweetness and light July 18, 2012 at 02:01 AM
GambitofTroy 1:55 pm on Thursday, July 12, 2012 Nice try -- LOL! Not sure I understand this. You said "99% of the time these cases end up being dropped", I said "I wouldn't be so confident these charges will be dropped." The charges were not dropped; four counts went to trial and two made it to the jury, which found Combs not guilty. Evidently, the jury did not find, as a matter of fact, that he had disturbed the peace or brandished the weapon. Another jury might have found differently. Nice try on your part to reframe the issue, though.
M&P9 Pro October 18, 2012 at 06:03 PM
actually it was three counts, judge dropped one and wouldnt touch the others for political reasons. maybe you should get your facts right before commenting.
sweetness and light October 28, 2012 at 01:41 AM
Sorry M&P9 Pro, my point is still correct. GambitofTroy said "99% of the time these cases end up being dropped." But the fact--and I do mean fact--is that either 2 of 3 or 2 of 4 of the counts went to jury (maybe 1 count was dropped by the prosecutor before it went to court). Contrary to what GambitoftTroy predicted, those 2 counts were NOT dropped; they were submitted to the jury, and it was up to the jury whether to convict the defendant. The jury ultimately acquitted the defendant, but that does not mean the charges were dropped, which was my point. Once something goes to a jury, the jury has the power to acquit or convict, and juries are notoriously unpredictable. This jury took some time deliberating 1 count, so apparently it did not find that count easy to decide. I have no idea what you mean when you say the judge "wouldn't touch the others for political purposes." The judge submitted those 2 to the jury in accordance with the law. It was a jury trial. Nothing odd about what the judge did.


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